Finance Secretary John Swinney today hailed Scottish Water for its impressive demonstration of responsiveness in helping householders and businesses with burst pipes.
As Scottish Water is a publicly-owned utility it has been able to provide additional assistance to people without water as a result of the freezing weather.
Since December 1 Scottish Water has repaired 1,800 burst pipes on its network, significantly reducing the level of leakage by 10 million litres per day from its treatment works.
Over 800 staff have been working daily around the clock since the beginning of December and delivered 332,000 litres of bottled water to customers – some even using their own vehicles to deliver to vulnerable people who don’t have water. Over the New Year weekend Scottish Water will have circa 600 staff working, both in its customer contact centre and out and about in Scotland.
Scottish Water’s contingency supply of bottled water normally sits at 300,000 litres but has been boosted to nearly 400,000 litres, with a further 500,000 litres being held by their supplier to be drawn down as required. As a result, Scottish Water has been able to send shipments of bottled water to Northern Ireland for householders without a water supply.
Mr Swinney said:
“It has undoubtedly been an extremely busy period for Scottish Water, but the hard work and dedication of staff has been an impressive demonstration of public service.
“We appreciate that many customers with frozen pipes in their property have been able to make their own arrangements to get bottled water. But for others who have found themselves in a vulnerable position and unable to do this, Scottish Water has endeavoured to supply bottled water. I have even heard of staff using their own vehicles to deliver water to some of the most vulnerable people in society who have had the misfortune of burst pipes.
“Such public-spirited activity underlines the value of Scottish Water to Scotland as a great public company prepared to push beyond its defined responsibilities to get things done. It has ensured there is long term sufficiency of supply in Scotland, moved swiftly to help people, and even been able to assist our neighbours in Northern Ireland in their hour of need.
“There is always the potential for further problems to emerge, and there can never be any room for complacency. People need to remain mindful of the difficulties associated with burst pipes and take steps to minimise this – not just in residential properties, but also business premises and those who own empty commercial properties.
“But it is clear that whatever the circumstances Scottish Water, working with the Scottish Government, will do their utmost to help. They have shown themselves to be among the most committed and valuable public servants in Scotland.”